#1

Wade Miley’s baffling off-speed stuff was just part of a frustrating night for the Chicago Cubs.

in General Section Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:53 am
by laiyongcai92 • 321 Posts

MILWAUKEE (AP) —The left-hander pitched six stingy innings Paul Konerko Jersey , Lorenzo Cain reached base five times and the Milwaukee Brewers romped past the Cubs 11-1 on Tuesday to climb within three games of the NL Central leaders.Miley (3-2) allowed one run and three hits, struck out five and walked none as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in the last six meetings with its division rival. The second-place Brewers maintained a 1½-game lead over St. Louis for the top NL wild card.“I just feel now I can throw strikes,” said Miley, who missed 57 games this season with a right oblique injury. “I guess I trust my pitches and trust my catcher, and the defense is playing great.“I just threw 78 cutters and three fastballs, so it’s a 180 (from last season).”Mike Montgomery (4-5) struggled with his control for four innings, and the Brewers had their way with a succession of Cubs relievers.Cain had four walks and a double from the leadoff spot, setting the tone for Milwaukee’s offense. Christian Yelich walked and added a two-run double in the seventh, reaching base for the 21st straight game — the longest active streak in the National League.The first-place Cubs were hurt by poor defense and committed two errors. First baseman Anthony Rizzo left the game with a bruised right foot but said he was OK and would play Wednesday in the series finale.The Brewers have four games left with the Cubs, including three at Wrigley Field next week, and have their sights set on winning the division.“This is how we had to start it,” manager Craig Counsell said. “So far, so good. Another series win and try to get a sweep tomorrow.”Milwaukee has won 11 of its last 15 games, and Miley said a division title is on the Brewers’ minds.“Why wouldn’t we be?” he explained. “We’ve still got 25 games to go, 23 games to go. Why not? I don’t think you quit thinking about it until you can’t think about it no more.”Singles by Hernan Perez and Travis Shaw and a sacrifice fly by Erik Kratz gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Cubs second baseman Javier Baez couldn’t catch Shaw’s hot shot, a play that was initially ruled an error but was later changed to a hit by the official scorer.Cain’s leadoff double in the fifth off reliever Brandon Kintzler set up the Brewers’ third run, delivered on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar.Ragged defensive play by the Cubs allowed the Brewers to extend their lead to 6-1 in the sixth. A routine grounder was booted by shortstop Addison Russell, setting up the rally against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa.One run scored on an error by first baseman Victor Caratini, another on a passed ball by catcher Willson Contreras and the third on a hit batter.The Brewers scored three more in the seventh and two in the eighth. Milwaukee hit three sacrifice flies in the game. Orlando Arcia had three hits and scored three times.“We did not pitch well at all after we got by Montgomery,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “They didn’t really beat us up offensively; we just kind of self-destructed.”TRAINER’S ROOMCubs: Rizzo exited in the sixth after fouling a ball off his foot in the third. X-rays were negative. … Veteran LHP Jaime Garcia, signed Friday after being released by Toronto, joined the Cubs. They selected his contract from Triple-A Iowa and recalled outfielder Mark Zagunis, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.Brewers: LHP Gio Gonzalez, acquired from Washington in a trade Friday, will start Saturday vs. San Francisco. Junior Guerra will go to the bullpen, Counsell said.THE RIVALRYNew Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels isn’t sure the Chicago-Milwaukee rivalry is a full-blown feud on the level of Cubs-Cardinals or Yankees-Red Sox. He said as much after the Brewers’ 4-3 comeback victory on Monday.Hamels, the Cubs starter that day, said, “When you have the majority of Cubs fans in the stands, I don’t know if that’s a rivalry.”But the fans flocking to Miller Park this week — for both teams — may think differently.“I look at it like we are spending way too much time trying to classify rivalries,” Counsell said. “Enjoy the baseball games, man.”The Cubs hold an 81-77 lead in games at Miller Park since 2001 and a 178-167 edge since the Brewers joined the National League in 1998.“I think that’s always going to be part of this series when you play up here; you’re always going to get a lot of Cubs fans http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-carlos-rodon-jersey ,” Maddon said. “(A huge rivalry is) something that is achieved over time. Give it time and it may eventually show up that way here.”UP NEXTCubs: LHP Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.21 ERA) allowed five runs over five innings in his last start against Milwaukee, a 7-0 Brewers victory at Wrigley Field on Aug. 14. Prior to that he had given up just five runs in 49 innings vs. the Brewers. Quintana is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in five career starts at Miller Park.Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (14-5, 3.53 ERA) will make his 30th start of the season. He is coming off a 4-1 victory over Washington on Friday. Chacin is 2-0 in two scoreless starts and 13 innings pitched against the Cubs this season. Postseason OutlookLast 30 Games:23-7The Milwaukee Brewers erased what was a five-game deficit in the NL Central standings on Sept. 1 to force Game 163, and they've been playing great baseball down the stretch.NL MVP favorite Christian Yelich (NL-leading .323 BA, .997 OPS, 36 HR, 109 RBI) and breakout star Jesus Aguilar (.893 OPS, 35 HR, 108 RBI) paced an offensive attack that slugged 218 home runs (fourth in MLB) on the year.The resurgence of Ryan Braun (8-for-22, five homers in six games last week) could wind up being a major storyline in October.It's an unheralded starting staff that raises some red flags.Chase Anderson (30 GS, 9-8, 3.93 ERA), Wade Miley (16 GS, 5-2, 2.57 ERA), Jhoulys Chacin (34 GS, 15-8, 3.56 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (5 GS, 3-0, 2.13 ERA since atrade from Washington) will likely make up the postseason rotation.Luckily, that group is backed by a dynamic relief corps.Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel form an exceptional trio at the back of the bullpen that stacks up to any trio of relievers in baseball. Rookies Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are also capable of providing multiple innings, which takes further pressure off the starting staff.This is just the fifth time in franchise history that the Brewers are in the postseason, and while they're an underdog of sorts, their roster is well-designed for Ocotber success.Projected Playoff RosterStarting LineupCF Lorenzo CainLF Christian Yelich1B Jesus Aguilar2B Travis ShawLF Ryan Braun3B Mike MoustakasC Erik KratzSS Orlando ArciaBenchC Manny PinaIF Jonathan SchoopIF/OF Hernan PerezOF Keon BroxtonOF Domingo SantanaPitching StaffSP Chase AndersonSP Wade MileySP Jhoulys ChacinSP Gio GonzalezRP Brandon WoodruffRP Xavier Cedeno (L)RP Dan Jennings (L)RP Corbin BurnesRP Joakim SoriaSU Corey KnebelSU Josh Hader (L)CL Jeremy JeffressNotable Exclusions:RHP Jacob Barnes, RHP Zach Davies, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Freddy Peralta, 1B/OF Eric Thames, RHP Taylor Williams3. Cleveland Indians (91-71, AL Central Champions)8 of 10Francisco Lindor and Jose RamirezGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesPostseason OutlookLast 30 Games:16-14The 2018 Cleveland Indians became the first team in MLB history to have four pitchers reach the 200-strikeout mark in the same season.Corey Kluber (33 GS Nellie Fox Jersey , 20-7, 2.89 ERA, 222 K), Trevor Bauer (27 GS, 12-6, 2.21 ERA, 221 K), Carlos Carrasco (30 GS, 17-10, 3.38 ERA, 231 K) and Mike Clevinger (32 GS, 13-8, 3.02 ERA, 207 K) will form a postseason rotation that's as good as any in baseball.Meanwhile, the bullpen that had been such a major strength in recent years struggled for much of the year, though the deadline trade to acquire Brad Hand and Adam Cimber helped, as will the ability to use rookie starter Shane Bieber in a multi-inning relief role.The offense got big seasons from Jose Ramirez (.944 OPS, 39 HR, 106 RBI), Francisco Lindor (.871 OPS, 38 HR, 92 RBI) and Edwin Encarnacion (.810 OPS, 32 HR, 107 RBI), and August waiver acquisition Josh Donaldson (60 PA, .920 OPS, 3 HR) is starting to look like his pre-injury self.An ultraweak AL Central and a 23-31 record against teams with a winning record will be easy fodder for the detractors.It's hard to look past that starting rotation, though. If they all pitch up to their potential, this team is going to be awfully tough.Projected Playoff RosterStarting LineupSS Francisco LindorLF Michael Brantley2B Jose RamirezDH Edwin Encarnacion3B Josh Donaldson1B Yonder AlonsoRF Melky CabreraC Yan GomesCF Jason KipnisBenchC Roberto PerezIF Erik GonzalezIF/OF Yandy DiazOF Greg AllenOF Brandon GuyerPitching StaffSP Corey KluberSP Carlos CarrascoSP Trevor BauerSP Mike ClevingerRP Shane BieberRP Dan OteroRP Oliver Perez (L)RP Adam CimberSU Andrew Miller (L)SU Brad Hand (L)CL Cody AllenNotable Exclusions:OF Rajai Davis, LHP Tyler Olson, RHP Neil Ramirez, RHP Josh Tomlin2. Boston Red Sox (108-54 http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-harold-baines-jersey , AL East Champions)9 of 10J.D. Martinez and Mookie BettsBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesPostseason OutlookLast 30 Games: 18-12The Boston Red Sox set a franchise record with 108 wins this season as baseball's best offense paved the way.With MVP candidates Mookie Betts (1.078 OPS, 32 HR, 80 RBI) and J.D. Martinez (1.031 OPS, 43 HR, 130 RBI) leading the way, the Red Sox led the majors in runs (876), batting average (.268) and OPS (.792).While those two were the clear standouts, an excellent sophomore season from Andrew Benintendi (.830 OPS, 41 2B, 16 HR, 87 RBI) and a career year from Xander Bogaerts (.883 OPS, 23 HR, 103 RBI) are also worthy of mention.On the pitching side of things, Chris Sale (27 GS, 12-4, 2.11 ERA) was his usual stud self, while David Price (30 GS, 16-7, 3.58 ERA) returned to front-line form. Rick Porcello will fill the No. 3 starter spot ahead of either Nathan Eovaldi or Eduardo Rodriguez, and that group might be the deciding factor in whether this team contends for a title.The emergence of Ryan Braiser (34 G, 10 HLD, 1.60 ERA, 0.77 WHIP) has been a huge boon to the bullpen, and knuckleballer Steven Wright (16 G, 29.2 IP, 1.52 ERA) has also taken to a relief role. Those two will be counted on heavily to help bridge the gap to closer Craig Kimbrel.The Red Sox were the best team in baseball during the regular season, but the back end of their starting rotation and an inconsistent bullpen are enough to knock them out of the No. 1 spot heading into the postseason. Still, that offense alone could be enough to win atitle.Projected Playoff RosterStarting LineupRF Mookie BettsLF Andrew BenintendiDH J.D. MartinezSS Xander Bogaerts1B Mitch Moreland3B Rafael Devers2B Ian KinslerCF Jackie Bradley Jr.C Christian VazquezBenchC Sandy LeonC/OF Blake Swihart1B/OF Steve PearceIF Brock HoltIF Eduardo NunezPitching StaffSP Chris Sale (L)SP David Price (L)SP Rick PorcelloSPNathan EovaldiRP Eduardo Rodriguez (L)RP Steven WrightRP Heath HembreeRP Bobby Poyner (L)SU Matt BarnesSURyan BraiserCL Craig KimbrelNotable Exclusions:LHP Brian Johnson, RHP Joe Kelly, IF Tzu-Wei Lin1. Houston Astros (103-59, AL West Champions)10 of 10Justin VerlanderMark Cunningham/Getty ImagesPostseason OutlookLast 30 Games:22-8The Red Sox might have wrapped up the regular season with the best record in baseball, but the defending champion Houston Astros are again the team to beat.The pitching staff led the majors in team ERA (3.11) Luke Appling Jersey , team WHIP (1.10), starters' ERA (3.16 ERA), quality starts (104) and bullpenERA (3.03).Justin Verlander (34 GS, 16-9, 2.52 ERA, 290 K), Gerrit Cole (32 GS, 15-5, 2.88 ERA, 276 K), Charlie Morton (30 GS, 15-3, 3.13 ERA) and Dallas Keuchel (34 GS, 12-11, 3.74 ERA) will make up a formidable and battle-tested postseason rotation, while Lance McCullers Jr. shifts to the bullpen.Roberto Osuna (23 GS, 12/12 SV, 1.99 ERA) has shored up the closer's role, and fellow trade pickup Ryan Pressly (26 G, 13 HLD, 0.77 ERA, 12.3 K/9) might be the best pitcher you've never heard of.All that and we still haven't mentioned an offense that scored 4.92 runs per game.Alex Bregman (.926 OPS, 31 HR, 103 RBI, 105 R) has taken his game to another level and should show up on quite a few MVP ballots.The biggest concern has to be the struggles of Carlos Correa since returning from a back injury that cost him more than a month. He's hitting just .180 with a .517 OPS in 153 plate appearances since the All-Star break.That said, there's an awful lot to like about this Astros team as it sets out to defend its title, and its lights-out starting staff and strong lineup are enough to earn Houston the No. 1 spot in our pre-playoff power rankings.Projected Playoff RosterStarting LineupCF George Springer2B Jose Altuve3B Alex BregmanLF Marwin GonzalezSS Carlos Correa1B Yuli GurrielDH Tyler WhiteRF Josh ReddickC Brian McCannBenchC Martin MaldonadoOF Tony KempOF Jake MarisnickDH Evan GattisPitching StaffSP Gerrit ColeSP Justin VerlanderSP Dallas Keuchel (L)SP Charlie MortonRP Lance McCullers Jr.RP Brad PeacockRP Will HarrisRP Collin McHughRP Tony Sipp (L)SU Ryan PresslySU Hector RondonCL Roberto OsunaNotable Exclusions:RHPChris Devenski, RHP Josh James, RHP Joe SmithAll stats courtesy of Baseball Reference andFanGraphs, unless otherwise noted, and accurate through Sept. 30.

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